International College of Economics and Finance

"After Every Workout I Feel As If I Can Move Mountains"

ICEF student team ICE FC finished second in the HSE Football Cup fall season. Here’s Artem Smirnov (Y3), who scored game-winning goal, about his impressions of the game, the things that playing sports can teach us, and how history and literature can help solve economic problems.

"After Every Workout I Feel As If I Can Move Mountains"


- Congratulations on finishing second in this fall season! How did the final go?

We played against the team of Graduate School of Business. It was a special game for us, we even made a matchup teaser to add intrigue. Scoring points gets more exciting with it, right? That’s what they do in Champions League. We led 2-0, but GSB then tied the score, and at the end of the game, when we all were tired, my team got a corner kick. It was me who took it. I aimed directly at the gate, hoping for someone to strike rebound goal if the keeper hit the ball, but I did it. I stroke right in the near corner – unexpectedly for myself. A spectacular goal it was. I guess everyone who was there will remembered it for a long time. Not every professional player can boast a strike like mine.
We played that match knowing we’d finish first if we won it, but, alas, we scored low in head-to-head. This didn’t upset us, though. After all we won over GSB.

- How long have you been playing football?

Since I was a school kid. Everyone in my class was a football fan. We all rooted for Barcelona. Back then in the early 2010s Barcelona had its heyday. We loved watching football and loved playing it. I played professionally on and off. Training drills took place in summer camps, I played in Chelsea Academy and Arsenal Academy, and for Burevestnik, which is a semiprofessional youth team. 
But in fact I started playing sports even earlier. The first one I remember practicing was wushu. I started it at four, and by the way I’m a Martial Arts Master. Additionally, I played water polo and tennis. Practiced boxing for ten years, sambo for a few years. As for now, it’s mostly gym workouts. Keep me in good shape.


- Why didn't you choose sports as a career?

It was time to concentrate on studies and prepare for the National Final School Exam. I’ve played sports on and off as a college student. My boxing coach is a family friend, so to say, so I can use him to resume boxing at any moment.

- What prompted your choice of major and why ICEF?

I made my choice quite early. I remember my experience reading Financier by Theodore Dreiser as a school student. I didn’t understand a thing, but I found it very interesting. Fields like business, economics and investments looked attractive to explore, but the subjects I liked best were English, History, and Literature. By the way, the latter two help me with solving tasks, especially in macroeconomics; the solution often comes by itself, like an insight, from the fiction and historical books I read. That’s why I recommend all my friends to study history and read more.
Why ICEF? I learned about it from a classmate. One day during a class he goes, “Artem, they teach in English.” And I go, “Cool. I think we should apply.” Little did we know what ICEF had in store for us. None of our friends studied here at the time. But I am very glad I’m here. I don’t know of any other university with as productive and informative training as here. Nor of a teaching team as good as here. If I had gone to a different college, I would not apply myself or would’ve given up on studying altogether.

- What do you like most about ICEF?

Finance, if you mean courses. It lets me know immediately where in life I can apply the concepts that it teaches. It’s different with mathematics. But in order to do well in Finance, one needs to be good at math. To cut it short, we need to learn whatever we are offered. And by the way, it was here at ICEF that I developed a passion for mathematics – thanks to Pavel Zhukov. I even thought about doing a master’s in physics and applied math, but deciding on it now would be rather premature. 
Another course I like is Statistics by Prof. Yaroslav Lyulko. I like the way he delivers his classes. It was very nice of Prof. Lyulko to attend the ICE FC vs. GSB game. It was a day off, very cold outside, we knew he had to do the office hours on campus, but he came anyway. We very much appreciate his support.

ICEF has an amazing student community and environment. People here are really smart and motivated. You can tell they will succeed in life, like many of the graduates I am in touch with. No surprise they landed jobs in reputable companies. Here, we push each other to do better in ways that help to avoid lagging behind. A community of smart people can really boost your own intelligence. In this sense, ICEF is a great place to be.


- How do you manage to combine study and sports?

Sports have taught me discipline. Sportsmen get 100 push-ups for turning up late for training drills. It’s not something anyone wants to do, so we try to be better time managers. I think for us all to be good managers we just need to stop wasting time. Never let yourself sit idle, do something useful for yourself or family. Strive to do better, and be better than you were yesterday.
I can’t say I devote studying all my time. But when I do, I’m fully in it. In economic terms, I maximize utility and minimize the costs. So far so good. 
And sports help here a lot. I feel sluggish when I don’t workout for a week, my mood drops. Exercise is my elixir of life. After every workout I feel as if I can move mountains.

Artem Smirnov, 3-year student, ICEF
Artem Smirnov, 3-year student, ICEF

- What are your career goals?

I major in banking, so I think I’m going to choose investment banking. But actually I’d like to try myself in multiple fields, as was my experience with sports. I know one day I’ll need to choose one – you can’t be good at many – but for the choice to be made consciously I need experience in other fields.
One useful experience took place when I interned with the treasury of RosAgroLeasing. It has a competent team and experienced leader, and thanks to them I got to know what companies do with their cleared funds. I mean the funds that businesses have cleared in their accounts at the end of the financial day – the earnings that can be invested in overnight funds for them to yield profit. Overnight deposits or bonds. It was a very exciting experience. 
I hope to try something else next time. They advise me to apply bank dealing room. It’s about superfast deals, and it's never boring because you need to be real fast. Exactly what young men need.

- Fiction, history, time management, sports... What else would you recommend?

Keep an open mind. Keep your options open. Meet new people. Don’t know where to begin? Join ICE FC. We welcome new players. Feel free to contact us if you wish to join and follow us on Telegram.